Weekday subway service could be nearly chopped in half and over 9,000 transit workers could lose their jobs under an MTA budget proposal being presented to the agency’s board on Wednesday.
But the potential cuts could be mitigated if the transit agency receives a hefty $12 billion from the federal government as part of a new COVID-19 relief package, according to MTA senior advisor Ken Lovett.
The MTA board will vote on management’s proposal in December and advocates are warning that without the federal help, the cuts are coming.
“Riders will be hard hit by unfathomable cuts unless the Feds come through — something they could do tomorrow,” said Lisa Daglian of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee, the MTA’s in-house advocacy group.
“The MTA simply can’t cut its way out of this situation without devastating riders and the region, and the economy by extension. We need help and we need it now.”
The MTA’s subway and buses would bear the brunt of planned downsizing, with over 8,000 jobs slashed between both branches of service.
The two combined would be subjected to over $1.1 billion in budget cuts, contributing to the proposed 40 percent reduction in weekday subway service, sources said.
Commuter railroads operated by the MTA — the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad — would lose about $250 million and roughly 1,000 workers under the plan, according to sources.
Overall, the proposal sheds more than $1.4 billion in services, though the actual savings to the MTA’s bottom line are expected to be somewhat less — in the neighborhood of $1.3 billion.
Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano slammed the budget proposal and demanded the MTA draw up a new plan.
“The MTA’s budget proposal is an outrageous and cowardly surrender to the Coronavirus, and a slap in the face of every transit worker,” Utano, who represents 40,000 transit workers, said in a statement.
“Go back to the drawing board and come up with real solutions. Tossing thousands of workers onto the street and leaving entire neighborhoods without service are not answers.”
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